From Judy to Bette: The Stars of Old Hollywood review at Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh – ‘upbeat but unfocused tribute show’
This is Rebecca Perry’s third visit to the fringe and may be better known to some as the Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl. This year, Canada-based Perry’s show takes a different stance as she explores the lives of four Hollywood actors: Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Betty Hutton and Lucille Ball. Using songs and quotes, Perry regales her audience with her opinion as to why these women made it to the top of their profession.
In truth, From Judy to Bette: The Stars of Old Hollywood is a bit of a hard slog. Perry has a fine yet unremarkable voice and negotiates her way through the familiar play-list with confidence. There’s no impersonation, rather Perry declaims a few well-worn retorts and then belts out the odd number. Of course, Davis was no singer, so Perry treats us to I’m Sending a Letter to Daddy and a snippet from Kim Carnes’ Bette Davis Eyes. Hutton’s career peaked with Annie Get Your Gun and Ball’s side-stepping into the movie version of Mame was a disaster.
In fact, each star has enough material to merit their own show, so Perry’s abbreviated love-fest seems something of a disservice. Perry may be a bubbly personality on stage but this production is a very lame vehicle to showcase her talent.
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